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A Call To Service, Through Faith, Family
by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Beam
August 17, 2020

Lt. Timothy DeLaughter clutches a radio on the bridge wing of the Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) as the ship parallels USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114).

July 16, 2020 - Lt. Timothy Delaughter, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, says the evening prayer aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89). Mustin is underway conducting operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Beam)
July 16, 2020 - Lt. Timothy Delaughter, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, says the evening prayer aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89). Mustin is underway conducting operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Beam)

With a smile, DeLaughter said, “Can you hear me, son?”

DeLaughter grew up in the small town of North Manchester, Indiana and eventually moved to Ashland, Ohio, where he cultivated experience as a minister and pastor.

“Before I joined the Navy, for about 20 years, I was a pastor for a small denomination called the Brethren Church,” said DeLaughter. “I’ve also served churches in Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and New Jersey.”

DeLaughter said that military chaplaincy had been an idea he fancied since completion of seminary school in 1997.

“Opportunity, timing—it never really worked out,” said DeLaughter. “In the summer of 2016, I received an e-mail from a recruiter out of Ohio. It indicated the age to join increased to 47. I was in between a variety of different things at the time so I put it into the pile of options on my plate and here I am.”

DeLaughter commissioned into the U.S. Navy on Jan. 7, 2017 and reported to Naval Support Activity Charleston. In March of 2020, he checked in aboard Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 for his first sea tour, assigned to USS Mustin.

“My focus is on bringing value to the command,” said DeLaughter. “To add value to what group of people I’m with. To increase the morale and positive expression is what I try to do.”

The distinction of military service would not be DeLaughter’s alone, however. In August of 2019, DeLaughter swore his son Ian DeLaughter into the U.S. Navy.

“I’ve wanted to be in the military since I was 10 years old,” said Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Ian DeLaughter, from Charleston, South Carolina, assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), part of DESRON 9 and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group. “I [also] had a calling to be a pastor in the summer of 2017.

Timothy DeLaughter’s experience in the Navy after deciding to join in 2016 played a large role in influencing his son’s choice.

“Being a chaplain, my dad had insight in the different branches of the military,” said Ian DeLaughter. “He showed me that I can do the thing I want to do and something that I have been called to do at the same time, so I joined the Navy to gain some insight on the enlisted side of the military for when I become a chaplain.”

July 18, 2020 - Gunner's Mate Seaman Ian Delaughter, from Charleston, S.C., assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), mans a control station while transiting the Strait of Malacca. Ralph Johnson is part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Collier)
July 18, 2020 - Gunner's Mate Seaman Ian Delaughter, from Charleston, S.C., assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), mans a control station while transiting the Strait of Malacca. Ralph Johnson is part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Collier)

Ian DeLaughter’s answered the call to serve his country, but actively pursues his call to faith as well. He attends regular services aboard Ralph Johnson and hopes to assist with the religious services in the future.

"I participate in religious services aboard Ralph Johnson by attending as many services as I can,” said Ian DeLaughter. “I am a protestant, but sometimes I will even go to the Jewish services to see how it works for religions other than my own."

Nearly a year after joining the Navy, Ian DeLaughter stood on the bridge of Ralph Johnson, directly parallel with Mustin during dual carrier operations, which brought both carrier strike groups together.

Ian DeLaughter did not know he would be so close to his father. Although their time together in the Pacific Ocean was fleeting, as Nimitz Carrier Strike Group soon departed for operations in U.S. 5th Fleet, he stated that he was happy to connect with his father on the bridge radio that day. They discussed how deployment was going as well as how Ian was progressing on his enlisted surface-warfare specialist pin.

Ralph Johnson is underway conducting operations in 5th Fleet, which encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three chokepoints, critical to the free flow of global commerce.

Mustin is underway conducting operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy's largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet's principal surface force.

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